You might recall last post we talked about how, as a generation, the baby boomers are forging ahead in a major way in the entrepreneurial stakes. So today, we’re going to look at ideas for managing growth, without losing your sanity, if you’ve got a boomer business that’s on the rise.
When your business is at an upwardly mobile or growth phase, you need to have options to maximize your revenue and minimise your expenses. Having been through corporate downsizing in the 90’s, many boomers are wary of tying up their cash flow on expensive things like bespoke accounting systems, expensive corporate offices tied into long 3 x 3 leases, and hiring expensive staff members that might not be fully utilised.
Although as a boomer, you’re newer to the digital world than your digital native children, when your business undergoes significant growth, the smart option will be for you to get wired in, more deeply and on a continual basis. Why? Because you want to make the most of the online options that will save you time, effort and money (and possibly sanity at the same time), and provide the flexibility required for your changing needs from season to season.
Online Recommendations to Help You Grow:
1. Xero (or MYOB, Intuit or Sage). Bookkeepers and accountants no longer need to be on site. Xero (et al) helps small businesses by doing these tasks online. You have a real time record of your cash flow, invoicing, payments, pay runs, plans, and pricing. You can access the information from wherever you are – on your laptop or mobile.
2. Air Tasker. There may be times when you need more arms and legs for your business than you presently have. You can get just about any task done through Air Tasker, such as cleaning your home office, help sorting through files, constructing office furniture, sorting computer glitches and other IT management, transcription, or event management and photography. Simply describe the task that you want to get done, set your budget, and mull through the offers that come in through Airtasker’s workers. After all a task done by someone else is a task off your to-do list.
3. KISSmetrics, Google Analytics. Google Analytics is free, unlike KISSmetrics. These apps track conversion rates, such as the ratio of website visitors who convert to your desired actions (making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter), track whitepaper downloads, and website sales. KISSmetrics can also track metrics on social games, e-commerce, and mobile apps. It all depends on what type of business you’ve got as to what you want to monitor. But as is often said, “what gets measured, gets managed”. Start your measuring sooner rather than later.
4. Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer. These sites trace your backlinks, which affect your SEO. If the quality of your backlinks are shady, eg. gambling, adult or similar sites, you will be penalized, and you won’t necessarily know why. You need to be on top of your backlinks to avoid penalties like a lower ranking on search engine sites, among others. While Google and Bing Webmaster Tools programs provide some information on your backlinks, you need a third SEO tool for the complete picture.
What About How you Look to Your Customers?
If it’s time for your business to adopt a more formal approach to how it looks to the outside world and more importantly your future customers, and you’re looking to avoid the financial pain of a 3×3 or a 5×5 lease, that might be the wrong size for you inside of a year, you might consider the following;
A city office address – having a central CBD location on your website for couriers and mail to be delivered to can give the impression that you’re serious about your business and taking on bigger clients.
Virtual reception – if you want to keep your focus on doing your do, without being distracted by your phone and have it answered professionally at all times – without the financial burden that taking on a staff member could be – this one’s for you.
Hot desking – if you have a couple of days where you might have a meeting in town, and it seems like a waste of a day trekking in and trekking back in the middle of the day but you don’t want to commit to renting a desk Monday-Friday (maybe a golf game or sailing is looking good on Wednesdays), hot desking could be for you. Hot desking means you bring your laptop and grab a desk for the day and treat it as your own. Depending on the facilities available to hot-deskers, you will probably also be offered access to meeting rooms, kitchen, coffee and tea – at SOI that’s standard.
Day offices – there are times when you need a door that shuts. Maybe you’ve scheduled a full-on day for making cold calls and doing it in your trackies with the dog barking in the background just doesn’t feel right; neither does doing it in the middle of an exposed shared space. That’s when hiring an office for the day can be exactly what you need – without the pain of endlessly looking at square-footage or the financial burden.
Renting a full-time serviced office – Sometimes you just want your own space – like you use to have in the corporate world; something that you can make feel like your home away from home whilst you’re smashing your business goals. Flexibility is the main drawcard here. You can take a space on either a short (weeks) or long term (months-year) contract and if you need to upsize as you expand, it can be as easy as a quick email and moving down the hall. Plus you also have the added benefit of being able to access a virtual (or a real) secretary/admin when you need them. And you’ve also got access to meeting rooms for those all important client meetings when you’ve got to get that new piece of business across the line.
Renting an office just for a specific project – sometimes, your business might have to house a number of people who need to be in the same space at the same time in order to accomplish something major. Many serviced office firms will also rent you space only for as long as you need it. This will spare you unnecessary expense in between projects – why pay for what you don’t need! Serviced offices also often offer (and SOI certainly does) broadband internet connection, reception service, printers, meeting rooms, secretarial support, free tea and coffee, kitchen amenities, a shower, bike cages, and conference rooms.
As your business continues to grow, it is likely that your needs will continually evolve. Make sure you find a partner who’ll empower that evolution and grow with you the way you need through each stage of that growth.
So if you’re a boomer looking to take your business to the next level either through outsourced admin, phone answering or a great office environment, we’d be delighted to talk further. You can call us on 1300 318 680 or drop us a note.